The other three elements

Not even the fresh pastries delivered daily by the French Baker were enough to keep us from visiting it.
It was there, majestic, within reach, and we just couldn’t let go this opportunity.

A few days after our arrival here to Barra de Navidad, we learned the state of Colima is home to one of the America’s most active volcano. We also learned it could be reached via a short bus trip from here.
We had lived near an active volcano before, the Popocatepetl in Mexico City. And it did indeed spill a few ash clouds during our stay there. But the Popo is still some 40-50 kilometers away from the big city, and often hides behind the mist and smog.
On the other hand, Volcan de Fuego could be reached up close – 5 kilometers, we heard. And it is also very active. We were immediately seduced by the idea of visiting. Moreover, I thought it would be good to us to soak in the energy of Mother Earth on such a direct level.
So, together with our friends from s/v Enough, we took the bus and headed up the mountainous terrain towards Comala, at the footsteps of Volcan de Fuego. We were off to a great start, since Comala was a real treat, as we shared on our previous post. But the highlight of the trip was definitely the next day.
In order to give us a privileged view, our expert guide drove us to the volcano’s neighboring mountain – El Nevado de Colima. The long-winding dirt road finally came to an end at an elevation of 3,400 meters above sea level, and we hiked the remaining 7 kilometers to the Nevado’s upper ridge, from were Volcan de Fuego could be seen, at 4,000 meters into the sky. The cold, dry, thin air of the mountain was quite a shake down to our bodies, now used to the abundance of warm and humid air at sea level. The way up was mostly dirt trail, but quite steep, thus adding to the physical exhaustion. And it is only literally at the last footstep that you finally get to see the Volcano. And what a sight it is !
We stayed there for nearly one hour, gazing at the view of Volcan de Fuego’s crater. There it was, just 5 kilometers away from us on a straight line, with nothing in between other than the clear, thin air. Raw, steep, covered in recent lava, with small clouds of vapor constantly emanating from within and around the crater.
But it was only when we were getting ready to leave that a blob of ash started to come out of the crater. For a few minutes the Volcano spilled out a mass of ash in the atmosphere, right there in front of us. No sounds, no smells, just the dynamic image. Raw, as the Volcano is. We stood there in awe, just wondering the massive amount of energy in play, and gazing at all that matter that had come from deep within Earth and was now dissipating into the thin air.
The hike down was even harder than the way up, for it was all through steep, raw terrain – but even that wasn’t enough to distract our minds of the wonderful natural spectacle that we had just witnessed.
On the way back, we still had time for a quick stop at Colima’s microbrewery – Cerveceria de Colima – a successful enterprise of a colleague of Adriana’s. The fresh beer was a treat, but it was the opportunity to see the tangible outcome of this entrepreneur’s dream which really crowned the day.
We rushed back to the station, hopped on our bus, our bodies tired, the lungs grateful for the thicker air, and the minds full with new memories and thoughts.
That night, lying on our beds inside Pesto, floating just a few feet above the Sea, it was hard for Adriana and I to believe that still on that morning we were 4,000 meters above, and face-to-face with an active Volcano !

The end of the road ... it's now "only" 7 kilometers to cover the remaining 600 meters of elevation towards El Nevado de Colima's upper ridge !
The end of the road … it’s now “only” 7 kilometers to cover the remaining 600 meters of elevation towards El Nevado de Colima’s upper ridge !
Pumice terrain on the way up. This mountain was also an active volcano not too long ago.
Pumice terrain on the way up. This mountain was also an active volcano not too long ago.
Passing airplanes seem much smaller when viewed from Sea Level ...
Passing airplanes seem much smaller when viewed from Sea Level …
... and the clouds acquire a much crisper appearance up there
… and the clouds acquire a much crisper appearance up there
As exhausted as we were, the vistas were well worth it (and a reminder of why our lungs were starving for more air).
As exhausted as we were, the vistas were well worth it (and a reminder of why our lungs were starving for more air).
And it is literally at the last footstep of the hike that Volcan de Fuego appears in its full glory
And it is literally at the last footstep of the hike that Volcan de Fuego appears in its full glory (from left to right: Horatio, Geoff, Miriam, Noah – s/v Enough, followed by Adriana, Paulo, Alex and Raquel – s/v Pesto).
The constant emanation of vapor and the raw crater indicate the ongoing activity.
The constant emanation of vapor and the raw crater indicate the ongoing activity.
Jupiter, the highly knowledgeable and caring guide who hosted us in Comala and took us to such a beautiful hike. We can't recommend him enough.
Jupiter, the highly knowledgeable and caring guide who hosted us in Comala and took us to such a beautiful hike. We can’t recommend him enough.
Gazing at the greatness of the Volcano.
Gazing at the greatness of the Volcano.
And as we were about to leave, a blob of ash started to come out of the crater.
And as we were about to leave, a blob of ash started to come out of the crater.

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The way back down, along the Nevado's ridge and then down through steep terrain.
The way back down, along the Nevado’s ridge and then down through steep terrain.
A few hours later, a flash-visit to Cerveceria de Colima crowned what had been already a very special day.
A few hours later, a flash-visit to Cerveceria de Colima crowned what had been already a very special day.

The next morning, we asked Raquel and Paulo to do an activity related to the experience at the volcano.

Paulo opened his computer and started typing away. The data and facts he researched do add to this story, and I am therefore quoting his whole essay below. Raquel preferred to make a drawing of the moment we were sitting and gazing at the volcano. We were pleased to see the impact this experience had been to them, and how they were processing it all.

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Volcano report (by Paulo)

The Volcan de Fuego in Colima stands 3,839 m (12,595 ft). It’s one of the most active volcanos, and most active in Mexico and Central America. 

This volcano is being permanently monitored by [the] Colima Volcano Observatory. There is a specialized team that analyzes, interprets and communicates every event produced by this volcano.

In 2014 a webcam was installed very close to the volcano, and everybody is now able to see the last status of volcano activity in real time.

A huge landslide occurred at the mountain, with approximately 25 km of debris travelling some 120 km, and it reached the pacific ocean.

In recent years there have been frequent temporary evacuations of nearby villagers due to threatening volcanic activity. Yes villagers. About 300,000 people live within 40 km of the volcano, wich makes it the most dangerous volcano in Mexico.

The Volcano has erupted in 1991, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2005.

On November 21, 2014, the volcano erupted again. And an ash cloud was sent 5km into the air.

Of course I had an experience with this volcano, just yesterday we hiked a mountain right next to it!

The hike was a bit tiring and felt like forever, but when we got to the top, we saw the volcano and it erupted!

But it was a small eruption so we couldn’t see the magma because it was day, but our guide, Jupiter, he told us that if it was night we could see the magma! Cool right?

I also really liked the fact that my friends from s/v Enough came with me

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